By Chris Kiwawulo
THE congestion in Mulago will soon diminish now that another hospital is being established in Naguru. The facility will be built near Kampala Rugby Club.
Jacinto Amandua, the commissioner for clinical services in the health ministry, says the hospital will employ medical specialists from China.
The two-storey building, funded by the Chinese Government, will cost sh20b. X-ray machines, CT and ultra-sound scans will form part of the medical equipment in the facility that include residential houses.
The Government is expected to meet taxes for importation of the requirements, clear the site, remove the debris and cater for the arrival of the Chinese technical crew.
The hospital will also house the national malaria research centre that will be transferred from Mulago Hospital.
Kampala City Council (KCC) provided the five-acre piece of land that once belonged to the teenage centre.
The teenage centre, whose dilapidated structures were demolished about a year ago to pave way for the hospital construction, will be housed in the new structure.
â€œThe NRM Government attaches great importance to provision of social services to raise peopleâ€™s standards of living,â€ says Richard Nduhura, the state minister for health in charge of general duties.
Quoting the 2002 Population and Housing Census projections, the minister says Kampala is expected to have 1.5 million. â€œBut the number reaches over 2.5m people during the day.â€
Nduhura says Ugandaâ€™s health sector has been riddled by lack of human resource, poor infrastructure and inadequate supply of medical supplies. He said, hospitals in the country can afford to employ about 47% of the required staff.
â€œEssential medicines and health supplies remain under-funded, resulting into high stockouts in the health facilities,â€ he observes.
Sun Heping, the chinese envoy to Uganda, said: â€œThis is testimony of the friendship and goodwill from the people of China. We hope the hospital will contribute to health care and uplift standards of living in Uganda.â€
Nduhura, along with Heping laid a foundation stone on Wednesday last week to mark the beginning of the construction work. The project is expected to end by December next year.
The architectural design was developed by M/S China architects with the support of Ugandan technocrats.
Complant, a Chinese firm, will handle the construction. Nasser Ssebaggala, Kampala Mayor says people with minor illnesses are causing congestion at Mulago.
He said getting another general hospital in the City will mitigate the congestion in the existing hospitals and offer better health services.
â€œWe are in the process of soliciting funds amounting to sh60b. We are looking for suitable areas where we can set up three other general hospitals in the divisions of Kawempe, Rubaga and Makindye.â€
The Mayor said the challenge is lack of land since KCC owns only 5% of land in Kampala. The biggest portion of land in the city, 75%, belongs to individuals while 20% is for the Uganda Land Commission.
Dr. Mesach Mubiru, the Kampala district health officer, said with the hospital in place, health services will be brought nearer to the people and that city medics would be able to carry out research and get on-job training.
Nabilah Ssempala, Kampala woman MP, says the hospital comes at a time when there is limited space and inadequate services at the reproductive health unit in Mulago.
â€œWomen have been complaining about the dire state of reproductive health services at Mulago. People will be happy for the ground-breaking of the hospital construction but we are looking forward to its completion.â€
KCC officials, including Protazio Kintu, Nakawa division chairman, pledged to offer the necessary support to ensure a steadfast completion of the hospital.
â€œMany people were expressing concern as to whether the hospital construction will ever become a reality. Many health centres like Kiswa are overcrowded,â€ Kintu says.
Alice Muwanguzi, the Kampala Regional District Commissioner was among the guests present at the launch.